University of Southern California

Searching for Injustice: The Challenge of Postconviction Discovery, Investigation, and Litigation

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Article by Laurie L. Levenson
From Volume 87, Number 3 (March, 2014)

Criminal law is at a crossroad. With 2.3 million Americans in prison today, one of the biggest challenges for the criminal justice system is dealing with postconviction claims by prisoners. Most of the focus of scholarship for criminal law is on preconviction issues. Many of the participants in the criminal justice system, including judges, prosecutors, and defense lawyers, view a criminal case as “final” once the defendant has been sentenced. Yet, it is increasingly clear that the trial, sentencing, and even appeal are just the first act in the long production of a criminal case. Defendants do not disappear once they are sentenced. The second half of their case is still to come as collateral attacks work their way through the criminal justice system.

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